Originally written on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 11/17/14

The defending NL East champions are in a bad place right now. Since the All-Star Break, the Washington Nationals are 2-7, with both of their wins coming on walkoff homers. Furthermore, all nine of those games have come in the friendly confines of Nationals Park, *really* not a good look for a team trying desperately to get back in the playoff race. The Nats are now 50-54, and 8.5 games behind the first place Braves in the NL East.  After Friday's doubleheader with the Mets, which the two teams split, the team optioned reliever Drew Storen to AAA. On the surface, this doesn't seem like a huge deal. After all, Storen has a 5.95 ERA in 42 1/3 innings this season. But Storen is striking out a career high 9.14 batters per nine innings, and he really hasn't been as bad as his ERA indicates.  But there's a little more to it than that. Before the Nationals got pounded 11-0 by the Mets in game one of the doubleheader, Washington manager Davey Johnson said that Storen had the flu and wouldn't be available. That didn't stop Johnson from inserting Storen into the ninth inning of game one, with the Nats already trailing 6-0. Storen then proceeded to give up three runs on three hits in 2/3 of an inning, along with allowing both of the runners he inherited to score. He didn't throw one four seamer, and got pounded by New York's offense.  After the doubleheader concluded, Washington reliever Tyler Clippard unloaded in the clubhouse while speaking with reporters, focusing on the team's offseason signing of closer Rafael Soriano. Clippard on Storen: "You send a guy a message this offseason, for one bad game, that he isn't the guy for the job. ..." — Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) July 27, 2013 More Clippard on Storen: "I think this had been handled very poorly by the organization." — Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) July 27, 2013 This is really not good. As Nationals beat writer Adam Kilgore later pointed out, it's not a good sign for an organization that prides itself on player development to have both Storen and Danny Espinosa hanging out in AAA.  Tom Schad of MLB.com had some more quotes from Clippard. I can understand, you know, after the devastation that happened last year, maybe trying to make a change and say, hey, we’re going to bring in somebody that we think can get it done in that big situation. It’s just the wrong message to send, I think. This is a franchise in disarray after just a year ago, it looked like they'd be contending year in and year out. And now, heading into the trade deadline after just the second playoff appearance in Expos/Nationals history, they're firmly out of the playoff picture and sniping at management in the media. This won't end well for anyone involved...except maybe the Braves, who are cruising to their first division title since 2005. [follow]

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Tiger Woods: 'There was blood everywhere' after tooth incident

Jerry Rice: Asterisk needed if Patriots win Super Bowl

Pete Carroll ok with Robert Kraft despite Patriots firing

Winners and losers of the Senior Bowl

Report: NFL approved under-inflated balls from Patriots

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

New MLB commissioner: Return to Montreal is possible

Report: Pats employee taking footballs into bathroom on video

Greg Anthony caught offering $80 to undercover officer for sex

Robert Kraft wants apology from NFL if nothing found

NFL may be very close to returning to Los Angeles

Report: Kobe definitely returning next season

Can the Yankees avoid paying A-Rod's milestone bonuses?

Tom Brady once got locked in a high school locker

Fire alarm at Patriots' hotel goes off early Tuesday morning

Petition to remove Pats from Super Bowl has 40K+ signatures

Richard Sherman is not pleased with Roger Goodell

Buffalo Bills: The greatest champion that never was

Six best Super Bowl coaches of all-time

Five key matchups for Super Bowl XLIX

Early B1G predictions for 2015

Remembering Ernie Banks

Allenby rang up $3,400 strip club bill on night of 'kidnapping'

Brady's dad: QB's relationship with Pats 'will end badly'

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Can Yanks not pay A-Rod his bonuses?

Petition started to remove Pats from SB

NFL approved Pats' under-inflated balls?

Six best Super Bowl coaches of all-time

Five key matchups for Super Bowl XLIX

Early Big Ten predictions for 2015

Remembering Ernie Banks

Pats employee took footballs into restroom?

Report: Kobe not retiring

More questions about Allenby's story

Yanks don't want to pay A-Rod bonuses

Looking back at Super Bowls 1-48

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.